I wrote this poem when Noël’s Father died. But now it covers both our fathers. We thank God for them. What a gift they were to us. And what a gift they gave.
In Memory of George T. Henry and William S. H. Piper, Our Fathers
Reflections on Psalm 1 and Joshua 24:15
No tree however deep the roots,
However high and green the shoots,
However strong the trunk has stood,
Or firm the fibers of the wood,
No tree was ever meant to be
A never-ending shade for me
Or you. Save one: where Jesus died
With bleeding branches spread as wide
And far as faith, for sinful men.
But there was shade, especially when
The tree was old: the leaves were thick
With life, and though the root was sick,
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him” (Lamentations 3:25).
Charles Simeon was in the Church of England from 1782 to 1836 at Trinity Church in Cambridge. He was appointed to his church by a bishop against the will of the people. They opposed him not because he was a bad preacher, but because he was an evangelical—he believed the Bible and called for conversion and holiness and world evangelization.
For twelve years the people refused to let him give the Sunday afternoon sermon. And during that time they boycotted the Sunday morning service and locked their pews so that no one could sit in them. He preached to people in the aisles for twelve years! The average stay of a pastor …
In this week’s Taste & See Article, I pointed out from Psalm 119:67 and Psalm 119:71 that God sends affliction to help us learn his word.
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. . . . It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
I didn't ask how affliction helps us understand God’s word and keep it. There are innumerable answers, as there are innumerable experiences. But here are five:
1. Affliction takes the glibness of life away and makes us more serious so that our mindset is more in tune with the seriousness of God’s word.
2. Affliction knocks worldly props from under us and forc…
The reason Psalm 119 has 176 verses is that the Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters. The psalmist exults in the multifaceted preciousness of God’s word by taking each letter of the alphabet and writing eight verses of exultation, each verse beginning with that letter. It’s like saying: “The word of God is precious in every way from A to Z—beyond perfection.” (Eight is one more than seven, the number of completeness and perfection.)
Ordinarily in each group of eight verses, the psalmist uses mostly different words that start with the letter for that section of the acrostic. For example, the verses beginning with the letter heth (verses 57–64) use eight different words beginning with that lett…
It takes supernatural power to be patient. That’s why Paul seems to go over the top in how he prays for our patience:
May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. (Colossians 1:11)
But that glorious might makes its way into our attitudes by means of promises that we believe. Like Romans 8:28.
Benjamin B. Warfield was a world-renowned theologian who taught at Princeton Seminary for almost 34 years until his death on February 16, 1921. Many people are aware of his famous books, like The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible. But what most people don’t know is that in 1876, at the age o…
When Christ died he purchased for you the Yes to all God’s promises (2 Cor. 1:20), and that includes the promise to use his sovereign power to govern all the inexplicable, maddening detours and delays of your life for wise and loving purposes. He is doing a thousand things for you and for his glory in your disappointed plans.
Richard Wurmbrand tells a story that illustrates the necessity of believing God for good, unseen purposes, when all we can see is evil and frustration:
A legend says that Moses once sat near a well in meditation. A wayfarer stopped to drink from the well and when he did so his purse fell from his girdle into the sand. The man departed. Shortly afte…
In his book, Passion, Karl Olsson tells a story of incredible patience among the early French Protestants called Huguenots.
In the late Seventeenth Century in… southern France, a girl named Marie Durant was brought before the authorities, charged with the Huguenot heresy. She was fourteen years old, bright, attractive, marriageable. She was asked to abjure the Huguenot faith. She was not asked to commit an immoral act, to become a criminal, or even to change the day-to-day quality of her behavior. She was only asked to say, “J’abjure.” No more, no less. She did not comply. Together with thirty other Huguenot women she was put into a tower by the sea…. For thirty-eight years she…
Today 42 years ago, I met my wife. I like to mark the day and give thanks. Please indulge a grateful husband.
On the 40th anniversary of that day I wrote this poem. It’s still true. Happy Meeting Anniversary, Noël. Let’s go out tonight.
Six Six Sixty Six
And That Glad Afternoon
For some the summer marks the ripening
Of seeds sunk in the furrows of the spring,
Or bulbs long buried that return each year
By some in-built awareness: June is here!
But that is not what summer was in June
Of sixty-six for us the afternoon
We met in Fisher Hall. What happened there
Was not a ripening. It came from where
We did not know. We did not …
How does the promise in Psalm 1:3 point to Christ? It says, “In all that he does, he prospers.” The righteous prosper in everything they do. Is this naïve or profoundly true?
In this life the wicked often prosper.
- “Fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!” (Psalms 37:7)
- “Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.” (Malachi 3:15)
And in this life the righteous often suffer and their goodness is rewarded with abuse.
- “If we had forgotten the name of our God...would not God discover this? ... Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long; we are regarded as sh…
On July 18, 1738, two months after his conversion, Charles Wesley did an amazing thing. He had spent the week witnessing to inmates at the Newgate prison with a friend named “Bray,” who he described as “a poor ignorant mechanic.” One of the men they spoke to was “a black slave that had robbed his master.” He was sick with a fever and was condemned to die.
Wesley and Bray asked if they could be locked in overnight with the prisoners who were to be executed the next day. That night they spoke the gospel. They told the men that “one came down from heaven to save lost sinners.” They described the sufferings of the Son of God, his sorrows, agony, and death...
Read the whole article.